I can sometimes feel a bit down when reading the news headlines and learning more about the terrible and dark things going on in the world. I’m sure each and everyone of you can relate. We weren’t ultimately made for a reality like that, our hearts yearn for something complete, loving, perfect and whole. Our hearts yearn for comfort from within, and an everlasting comfort, for a Love that goes beyond what we see day in and day out around us.
It got me to thinking that while so much bad is going on in the world, each and every one of us can make a difference, even in the smallest of ways, each day of our lives. We can make a difference by sharing kindness, encouragement, Truth and love.
You can make a difference in your blog, in how you treat the person you are with in this moment, of how you treat the people you encounter in your day.
It might not seem much, but it can be. So make a difference today ❤
There is power in encouragement. Even the smallest gesture can make a real difference to someone. You might not realise what that difference is, but if you can, where you can, by whatever means you can, encourage other people, and better still ‘each other’ in mutual encouragement.
I’m a follower of Christ Jesus (since He Illuminated my life in a very powerful way when I called upon Him 18 years ago, and He has been tangibly present in my life ever since, despite occasions when I’ve not experienced His Love or Presence as closely. I am so grateful to be experiencing His Love and Peace and Presence and inner healing more keenly these days, and the comfort of His Spirit, despite the ongoing challenges of being human!). He Is Real – the Living God, and I pray you will one day call upon His Name in repentance and experience His Saving Grace and the Reality of the Greatest, Purest Love you can ever know. Without repentance there is no forgiveness of sin, yet when we do repent, turn to Him and accept this incredible, free gift of Grace from what the Lord Jesus accomplished through His Blood shed at the Cross, our slate is wiped clean, we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit and made new from the inside, and saved from all that our sin deserves. Incredible.
As Christians, we are commanded to “encourage one another” (Hebrews 10), to build each other up (Romans 15:2), to “encourage one another and build each other up…” (1 Thessalonians 5:11), to “bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2) and we are told that “love is the most excellent way” (1 Corinthians 12:31).
Many people underestimate the power of encouragement. It could perhaps turn someone’s life around. Maybe you’ve been in a painful place and people started treating you with worth and kindness and it seemed radical to you! I’ve been there. The Love of God can change us. Perhaps someone has been having difficult thoughts and feeling unworthy of life, and an act of encouragement, of kindness and love might just impact their life path.
Many people fail to realise that we are also in an intensely fierce spiritual battle. There are things going on around us in the unseen realm that born again Christians, like myself, have experienced. These aren’t thoughts, or hallucinations or mental illnesses, but there are real, tangible spiritual forces of darkness, influencing our lives, and there are also spiritual beings of light. There is a war going on for people’s souls, and Jesus Christ Is the Only Saviour. This is not fiction, nor a story book or an overactive imagination. I have experienced so many things that I didn’t know at the time were in the Bible, but there is a real battle in the unseen realms, not just human action but spiritual realities of good and evil, having an influence on what happening around us.
For Christians, prayer is therefore so important, to call upon The Living God. Read the book of Job in the Old Testament. I’ve had some experiences that made me feel a lot like Job at the time. We find it hard to understand sometimes why God allows certain things to take place, but although we don’t have all the answers now, we do have the directives of how to respond, in faith, in prayer, in love and waging ‘war’ in the unseen spiritual realm through faithful prayer, fasting, connection with The Living God, using the Word of God in our lives and renewing our minds, helping and caring for each other, etc.
Anyone, whether or not you know Christ personally, can gain from encouragement, although ultimately your only true hope can be found in Him, the Door to Salvation, the only One Who can save you from an eternity apart from Him, or a life on earth now apart from His tangible love and indwelling Spirit.
Our minds are constantly bombarded by negative messages in this world. We are tempted constantly to fear, worry, anxiety, and I don’t think there are many people nowadays who are immune to these, sometimes overwhelming, thoughts and feelings. We all need encouragement, and we all need to give it too. This is one way we can ‘strengthen the brethren’ and also a way in which we can show care and kindness to anyone.
I hope you have found something of worth in this message. Encourage someone in your life today – you never know what difference it might make, to them and to you. x
Initially all the changes we faced in 2020 when the pandemic really started to impact our lives and shape our day to day realities, left many of us in a ‘survival mode’.
We were compelled into thinking about the immediate practicalities and concerns we needed to get to grips with in order to keep our loved ones and ourselves safe.
I’m sure we all remember the news articles and ‘toilet paper-gate’ in those early days when people were struck with panic and started hoarding essentials for fear of shortages amid the lockdown.
I realise that for many people things are by no means easy now, but in general in a variety of countries we have now established ways and means of managing these new day to day realities of living life in a pandemic.
Working from home has become a default for many people, even if we are still not fully equipped and established quite yet. Home education is a ‘new norm’ for some, and it’s no longer a novelty or new inconvenience to be ordering groceries and then spending our time carefully disinfecting them. These are all part of the rhythm of our new lives, as is social distancing, delivery people leaving parcels on our door steps rather than handing them to us, and so forth.
Some people in society are really hard pressed, such as those working in the ICU, people facing abuse in other frontline settings such as shop staff, and those for whom Covid-19 has had a knock on effect upon their finances, family situation and living situations. Some have become homeless while others are going to food banks for the first time.
I suspect that for many of us with the time to read and write blogs, we may be in a more comfortable situation not living hand-to-mouth on a day to day basis and not having to worry about where we will live next month.
For those of us who are no longer in pandemic-survival-mode, and for those of us who still are, we all have the opportunity to dig deeper and work on our character.
We are being pressed into thinking about many things, some of which many of us prefer to avoid in the general day to day run of life. Death and what happens next is one that is key to think about. I personally believe that there will be a judgement, and the only way to be right with God is by seeking His forgiveness and new life through Jesus Christ. That’s the biggest eternal need of all. Yet we also have other issues that we need to consider such as how we think of and relate to others, how we use our time, and whether we are developing ourselves in a way that will bring kindness into the world around us. We may be humbled by our circumstances and this may open opportunities for us to realise more of our humanity, our need and to develop thankfulness, perseverance and resilience.
So wherever you find yourself today, think of the ways in which you can be developing your character in this pandemic. Think of the person you are and want to become, and how you can use all of your experiences for the greater good, even and perhaps especially those which have been difficult for you.
Take care, as always friends, stay safe and never give up. x
Perhaps my previous post of a few minutes ago was fairly profound, therefore I will juxtapose it with something more practical, but no less meaningful.
Friendship, true friendship is a gift, especially in these changing days. While I have posted previously about changing dynamics with some friendships, and the sadness of that and the need for changed boundaries, there is also something beautiful, uplifting and encouraging in connecting with those people who we can share this journey with. We all need encouragement in these days, and we need to surround ourselves with voices of encouragement, understanding, compassion, kindness, inspiration, and hope. We need to strive to be those kind of people too, and perhaps foremost before looking for those qualities in others.
As the saying goes, ‘birds of a feather flock together’. The more you are the kind of person you want in your life, the more you will be able to connect with others with those qualities and bring out those aspects in each other.
It’s important to understand that everyone is going through their own thing just now, even if we can’t see it on the surface. We need to give people the benefit of the doubt if they haven’t connected with us, and perhaps take the initiative in being a caring friend and reaching out to them to let them know we’re thinking about them.
When we do have friends that we connect with, it is important to take time and make the effort to nurture those friendships. Some people might say, ‘I wish I had such a friendship’, but these things don’t just happen, it takes something on our part, it takes love, patience, kindness, generosity, giving, understanding and reaching out for the good of the other person. When that is reciprocated, we can begin to see the blossoming of true friendship over time.
Think about the people in your life just now, whether friends, family or other connections. Try to nurture these connections that are mutually edifying. It is a real blessing to have people to share with in these trying times. Even if you feel alone, try to nurture your friendship with yourself as a starting point, perhaps connect with acquaintances, or neighbours in a safe and socially distanced way, or make new connections online.
It can be all too easy to get caught up in the day to day of ‘getting through’ in this pandemic. But remind yourself of how important the people around you actually are. While some families are having to face loss, let us think about the blessing of the people that we have in our lives right now. Take some time to make an effort to show that you care and are thinking of someone. Take time to nurture the good friendships and relationships you already have.
Take a step back:
For some, you may have to think about taking a step back from people who are pulling you down, being a toxic influence in your life or detrimental to your emotional and psychological wellbeing. While you may have to still have some people in your life (like a boss / manager) for example, you can still set your own internal boundaries so that you can continue to stay strong and positive for yourself and the people around you.
Appreciation and Gratitude:
With so much going wrong in the world, and with seeing so many unkind acts from troubled and troublesome people, it can do us much good to take time to appreciate and be grateful for the lovely people in our life, or if you feel you don’t have anyone, the lovely influences of people you don’t even know but that you have heard about, read of or seen in the media. Maybe you could show your appreciation in a practical way, even to someone you don’t know personally, by writing a letter, sending an email, a text or just checking in with someone.
Let’s take the time and care to appreciate those around us, to nurture and build those connections, and to help and encourage each other into better days.
Many of us will be going back to working from home this week, after a Christmas and New Year festive break. Others will be on the front line and have hardly had a break at all, and I am so thankful for the many people who are living and working sacrificially to help us all.
I’m not here to offer any sector or service specific advice, but I’m just writing as I encounter life, and want to share my insights, learning and encouragements with you.
In the UK, we are under Government Lockdown apart from certain ‘exemptions’. We should stay at home unless it’s absolutely essential to do otherwise. However, not all employers take this seriously or seriously enough. Some managers allow their pride to dictate how they are going to present things to their staff. And if you are finding yourself feeling stressed because your employer is asking you to do things you feel uncomfortable about, or that make you feel unsafe or that you are going against governmental advice or putting yourself or others at risk in this pandemic, then take a step back and remind yourself that your boss isn’t the ultimate authority in this situation, or in any situation.
It will be difficult for some of you where in the employment setting the buck does stop with your boss. I’ve been in those difficult situations in the past when I was a young, fresh graduate and didn’t know much about the world of work and found myself working in an organisation that didn’t have an HR team, or HR officer….. at all. It turned out the boss bent certain rules to his advantage, and being timid, shy, scared and not knowing my rights I was a bit of a walk over and I wasn’t treated or paid well. Said boss turned out to be a bit let’s just say ‘bossy’ towards the end, and with him being the head of the organisation that was a tough place to be. However, as an employee you do have rights and perhaps depending on the part of the world you are in and the sector you work for joining a union might help.
Since then, I’ve been blessed to work in an organisation that despite its faults does have a proper HR structure, therefore no boss can call all the shots. It took a good few years for me to realise this. My first couple of bosses in this organisation were lovely, kind women. My bosses changed due to changing structures in teams and so the second lovely boss with whom I’m still friends never caused me any issues. We got on great and she didn’t ‘lord it over’ other people. She was merely first among equals and treated us with respect.
After that she retired and my next boss was a bully, and someone I don’t want to spend many sentences writing about. It caused a lot of distress to myself and others and I thought I had no alternative but to just try to suffer through things myself. Everything went through her, even things she should have and said would go to HR through. I suffered and others around me suffered until one day I was having a coffee after work with my boss / friend who retired and she told me that what my new boss was doing was out of order, unethical and that I should join a union.
I realise that this is not for everyone, but it has been such a blessing in my working life, especially as I needed to get reasonable adjustments for health conditions, and was being made to suffer, jump through hoops and denied fair treatment until I did join a union. Even after joining a union the amount of bureaucracy with the employers was just plain sad. For people asking for the smallest, simplest of things, the bosses with their egos wanted to put up so many obstacles and make their employees miserable. I am thankful that my True Boss, My King of kings and Lord of lords Whose servant I am is Jesus Christ – The Servant King who Loves and cares for those who are His.
I found a couple of great advocates and representatives with my union and even this week I’ve been able to reach out to one of them to ask advice because of things I feel I’m being called upon to do in terms of work that I don’t feel comfortable with in light of the government stay at home order.
So whatever situation you find yourself in if you are employed externally, remind yourself that you deserve to be heard, treated with respect and that you have employee responsibilities, but you also have rights. Especially with everything going on with the coronavirus you may be more likely to find information and advocacy support as there will be others in the same boat as you. Know that you’re not alone, and that there are options, even if it takes a bit of hard work, perseverance and researching information for you to get to a better and safer place.
I think back to my coffee with my lovely retired boss and the chance conversation that actually was a game changer for me. Join the union, she advised, and I did and it has helped me so much.
Maybe that’s not the right route for you, but perhaps think of this blog post as a coffee and cake with a friend (me 🙂 ) who is telling you, reminding you that you have options, you have every right not to be bullied or to be made to go against government safety advice in the pandemic and that there are people out there who will advocate for you and support you.
Maybe there is a citizens advice bureau or similar that you can talk to if you don’t want to go down the union route, or if it’s not for you in your personal situation, your sector or industry.
Maybe there is a trusted friend or family member that you can bounce ideas off.
Maybe there are advice and information pages you can read up on online.
Just know that you are not trapped, and that there are options for you as you move forwards. It can be hard to stand up for ourselves sometimes, so don’t be afraid to ask for a bit of advocacy and support and help if you need to.
This year sure has had far reaching consequences. Something unseen to the human eye, a virus, has caused devastation far and wide. There is debate as to the causal factor that started the initial spread of the virus, but whatever you are lead to believe on that count, I am sure most people would agree that it could have been caused by one small act.
Just as devastation and destruction can be far reaching and have consequences impacting the whole globe, let us have faith and believe that small acts of kindness and love can also have far reaching consequences. Whether or not they impact people across the world we may never know, but they could change the day or life of one person.
Has anyone ever shown you a kindness that you did not expect? Didn’t it make you feel more hopeful and like passing it forwards?
In these difficult days, let us be the people that hold forth hope with Acts of Random Kindness – ARKs that offer some shelter and respite from the storms and flood waters of life.
How can you take this thought and pass it on?
Let’s once again ‘brainstorm’ some ideas together and if you wish to share some kindness here, please comment below so that someone perhaps in another part of the world can take forward your idea and inspiration and touch the life of someone else.
What can you do?
– You could write an encouraging blog post of your own.
-You could get in touch with someone who is lonely.
-You could send a letterbox gift (if it is safe to do so) to someone who might need the encouragement.
-You could offer to pay for a friend’s grocery shopping.
-You could offer your skills and talents for free for example to a local business that is struggling by setting up a website for them.
-You could donate to a charity, foodbank or raise money yourself for a good cause.
-You could do so many things, many of which I can’t think of right now – but if you want to inspire me or others, then please comment below.
Let us shelter each other in our ARKs and help each other sail safely through the storms of this pandemic. x
A fundamental part of what it is to be human is to love, to give, to care, to demonstrate kindness and thoughtfulness towards others.
We all need to know that we are loved, important and valued, and while it is good for us to receive, it is also incredibly important to give…to keep that heart muscle of kindness pumping.
While we need to look after ourselves in order to be able to give of ourselves (and for Christ followers, we know the instruction to ‘Abide’ in Him so that we can ‘bear much fruit’ because apart from Him, The Source of sources, the True Source of Love, Light, Wisdom, Righteousness, Goodness and Truth, apart from Him we can do nothing of eternal significance that will stand the test of His Perfection), we still need to be giving out once we have received.
We exist to love and to be Loved, and yet in this fallen and dark humanity, it can often feel that this is hard to come by. Yet what might take very little effort from us, to reach out to check in on someone and ask if they are ok, to send a note, a text or an email or some other communication in this technologically flourishing world to say ‘I’m thinking of you’ is often something we don’t do often enough.
Is there anyone in your life today who can benefit from your kindness, the power of your gracious words, your time?
Send that text.
Pick up that phone to your family member.
Remember that person who is probably lonely.
Give to a stranger.
Give to a friend.
To be the fullest versions of ourselves we need to be thoughtful Givers as well as receivers. It will benefit not only them, but you as well. Who can you bless with your love today? x
I’m not in isolation or lockdown or anything like that yet, and am thankfully fit and healthy and well, however, more and more it looks like the country and the world is moving in that direction whether you have symptoms of Covid-19 or not. The rationale is to contain and minimise the spread of the coronavirus.
It strikes me that people are responding very differently to the thought of having to stay indoors or limit their activity for an extended period of time than when they might be in a similar situation say during the Christmas holidays for example.
I’m still out and about going to work, although keeping my distance as much as possible, but the government is recommending that employers allow staff to work from home, so it is a wait and see time for us until we get definitive direction. In the meantime, we have to keep showing up.
However, I digress. There is a difference if you have to stay indoors and you are the only one in that situation, but there is, or at least there can be, a sense of community and camaraderie and shared experience when you know a large percentage of the world are in a similar situation. That’s part of the reason why I love Christmas, and the holiday season, because despite the diversity of beliefs, there is a sense of a shared experience.
Now, I know this whole pandemic is a different situation entirely, but let’s just think of how we can help and encourage each other to stay happy and healthy and mentally well during what might eventually turn out to be an extended period of time indoors. How can we help each other to counter the fear and anxiety that is so rife? Many people may find themselves completely symptom and virus free, but be advised by their employers or governments to stay at home, for the greater good. At any other time and in other circumstances, many of us would jump at the chance for some work from home days, or the chance to take a break away from it all in the comfort of our own homes. However, in this climate of fear, we are reacting very differently, or so it seems to me.
Ok, so maybe you are well and yet having to stay at home. I’m kind of hoping that I will be able to work from home too, but like I said, it’s ‘wait and see’. My heart goes out to those whose livelihoods and jobs are at risk, but if you don’t have those issues and simply have to stay indoors, how can we make the most of the situation?
I think if I have to stay inside for an extended period of time, I might put up my Christmas tree! Perhaps that seems strange to you if you live in sunnier climes, but I live in Scotland, and although the days are lighter and we have some dry days here and there, spring hasn’t really ‘sprung’ as yet, and we do get more than our fair share of rain, so some days it does still feel a bit ‘wintery’.
If you are new to my blog, I have written various series’ on self care, staycations, mental health and wellbeing, retreats of various types, and keeping cosy, so hopefully you will find some inspiration to make the most of an otherwise uncertain time.
Think about the things you would ideally do if you were organising a ‘staycation’ for yourself in your own home, or town. How many of us so often feel the need to ‘get away from it all’ without the practical hassles of travel, and to just have some ‘down time’ to think and reflect and nurture our own souls? How can we be people who seek to be encouragers and a positive influence when all around us is panic and anxiety and uncertainty?
For me, if I were to have to stay indoors, these are the things I would focus my attention on:
Drawing even closer to God, enjoying His Presence, allowing Him to continue His work of healing and restoration, and building up myself in my true identity so that I will be stronger and a vessel for His use in greater measure than before. Spending time with the One Who Loves me most and learning from Him.
Praying and interceding for other people, not only in terms of the concerns around Coronavirus, but taking time to think and pray about and appeal to God for the many people and situations that we so often don’t think about because we are ‘too busy’ with getting through the day to day things of life, and ‘cares of this world’. Focused prayer for people’s salvation and also for the needs of those who are caring for others, making decisions, ‘on the front line’ in some way, or who are ill and suffering or in need. Finding ways to advocate for those who suffer from injustice and abuse whether through prayer and practical means.
Reaching out to other people, and seeking to be a ‘good steward’ of the resources He has given me, and making a positive impact on the world, whether by blogging, keeping in touch with and encouraging people over the phone or email or other means.
Taking time for self development, nurturing myself and allowing God to continue to heal me, and also doing my part in looking after my emotional and mental health.
Working hard, obviously, if working from home did become a reality, and doing my duties to the best of my ability.
Taking time to continue writing my novel.
Read the books that have been waiting for me to get to them! 🙂
Exercise and healthy living.
Take time to be grateful, mindful and thankful for all of the blessings I do have in my life.
Finding ways to encourage and pray for other people, and to offer help where it is safe and wise and healthy to do so.
Home organisation and decluttering.
Arts and crafts projects, adult colouring in, continuing to learn to draw.
Music, playing worship on my violin.
Photography projects – finally compiling my photography work into one place.
Continue work on my blog to help bullied children (which I haven’t been able to while maintaining a daily routine of going to work, etc.).
Having pamper days for self care and looking after my body as well as my mind.
Learning new skills and online learning.
Tidying out my spare room!
Cosying up like at Christmas time and watching some nice films or box sets.
Live a ‘hygge life’.
Encouraging others and being kind!
So, what about you? What positives can you glean from this situation, and how would you, or how are you spending your time ‘away from it all’?
What are your struggles, and what are the things you have learned or that you enjoy that you can share that will benefit others reading this?
Let’s stick together and become stronger in the midst of all of this uncertainty, and bring out the best in each other as we make our way through this uncertain world.
I am thankful that my faith, certainty and hope is in the unchanging, solid rock of Jesus Christ, the source of life and pure love.
Take care and stay well, healthy, and safe, everyone. x
We all must be familiar with the news of this unfamiliar virus Covid-19 by now. It is fair to say that a lot of things have been revealed about human behaviour during this time:
Fear of the unknown.
Feelings towards dying (a good time to consider our need for eternal salvation, and lift our eyes above our immediate concerns!).
Panic that leads to hoarding and buying more than we need.
A lack of consideration for the impact that our behaviour will have on others, such as the most vulnerable who may find that they cannot even find their basic necessities when they go to the shops.
A desire to help.
Self protection and self preservation.
Isolation and loneliness.
Fear and concern for other people.
The realisation that viruses don’t respect borders and at the end of the day no matter where we are from, we are all human and vulnerable to things that are bigger than us.
It’s a mixed bag, isn’t it!
And I don’t condemn or judge any of you / us who have experienced a range of these emotions or attitudes. Initially I saw the panic buying and I avoided it completely. Then the practical side of me considered the possible reality that I would have to stock up on what I need…but not to the extent of hoarding. Simultaneously I want to help other people and have been looking online for ways to do that.
We oscillate between self protection and wanting to help others, or at least I imagine most of us do. Our immediate concerns are for ourselves, our nearest and dearest, for avoiding causing harm to others and where safe, to help other people.
What can we do to help?
Keeping ourselves safe and well and hygienic actually is a help to others if we can curb the spread of this virus. Keeping away from frail or vulnerable people if we are at risk of compromising their immune system in some way. Keeping up to date with scientific advice to avoid the spread of misinformation. Helping each other with anxiety and fear, and most of all casting our cares upon God and seeking His Wisdom and love for humanity.
We can also do practical things where it is safe to do so. I’ve seen and heard of people doing things that encourages me. Such as parents who home-school / home educate their children sharing resources and advice with those whose children’s schools have been closed. I’ve heard stories of small local shops providing free care packages to vulnerable and elderly people and care homes, at a cost to themselves. My local church has set up an online support group where people can ask for or offer help in line with specialist advice to keep people safe. People checking in by telephone or email or text or Skype with those who are self isolating. Donations to charities. A local college recently set up a crowd funding page to raise money to prepare care packages for vulnerable people and they had to ask for people to stop donating because they had exceeded their target by far, and were donating the extra money to local food banks and homeless charities.
We have to start somewhere. We all have a selfishness in our hearts, and protecting ourselves and our loved ones is a good thing, but selfishness is not. Yet being honest with ourselves is the first step forwards. Realising that we are a global community is the next. And sharing ways to help and encourage each other safely will help us a little further down the path of kindness. We all need each other.
I need you. I need your advice and suggestions and encouragement. Because I don’t want to live selfishly through this time.
So my small step for today is to write this blog post. To encourage you no matter where you are that you can make a small change today, and if you need help, to encourage you to reach out to someone while at the same time staying safe and well.
Most of all I can pray – for each and every one of you reading this, for your loved ones, family, friends and those in your neighbourhoods to be protected, for your ultimate healing and salvation and also for your protection on earth also. God bless and let’s all help and encourage each other to live kindly in these uncertain times. x
One of the things I realise that I love about Word Press, and this ‘blog life’ is that I very rarely feel any kind of fear or anxiety when logging in. And because a lot of online fear and anxiety is caused by unkind words of other people, I’d like to commend each and every one of you for your positive influence on the internet. I have never encountered another blogger who has tried to cut someone else down or cause harm or offence. We all have this open platform to share, and I can with real gratitude say that I am part of a community of bloggers who are encouraging, inspiring, motivated, helpful, understanding and positive. Whether or not you or I feel good, we seek to use our blogs as platforms for something good, wholesome, creative, informative and expressive. What a blessing and privilege to be part of this! 🙂
However, more and more on other platforms (which I don’t use), people experience all kinds of negativity, and as such it is important to be aware of and know your online triggers and to safeguard yourselves from these, as well as gaining understanding so that we can safeguard the younger generations coming after us.
Children born in this generation are born into an online world. Of course, not everyone in every part of the world has access to the internet, yet for the most part children in relatively affluent countries do, and they have never known anything different. They perhaps lack the perspective of young people and adults who have either grown up with lesser exposure to the online world, or experienced the internet as a ‘new’ invention, or for those older still have been part of a time before the internet (yes, hard to believe, lol! 🙂 ). I’m part of the generation growing up with less exposure to the internet (I remember dial-up modems 😉 ), and I am grateful that in my young childhood I either had my head in books, in imagining adventures, or I was outside playing and making things with my friends. I have perspective.
I was bullied and I also know how harmful and long-lasting the scars and pain and damage from other people’s cruelty can be, well into adult life. However, I was never exposed to anything like young people (and adults) experience nowadays online.
Lately, news stories and discussions have been affecting me, ‘triggering’ me as it were, so I have decided to be more mindful of my boundaries and what I choose to be exposed to. I have also been learning more about what the younger generation faces when it comes to ‘trolling’. Unlike when I was bullied, an incident may have replayed again and again in my mind or among a small number of people, now the situation is that bullying and ‘trolling’ can be replayed again and again for example in online videos, memes, photos etc. which can be viewed by millions of people. How hard must that be when someone’s open shame of being cruelly treated is ‘permanently’ on show for a whole online world to see!
This is heart-breaking, and without writing anything specific that could be triggering to any of my readers, can lead to great tragedy. This is why it is so important for us as adults to become more well informed, to know how to set boundaries for ourselves, and to teach our children and young people in our lives how to handle life in an online world so that their experiences will be uplifting and positive and so that they can discern the truth from lies. I as an adult am still unpicking my way through the bullying of my childhood, but I knew the people who were being cruel to me, and by God’s love, grace and forgiveness, I have forgiven them, whether or not they ever realised how much damage they caused. However, today people, thousands of people can anonymously use their words like knives as they sit behind a computer screen and attack other people through their keyboards (thinking that it is somehow their ‘right’ or that because they are not face to face it somehow won’t cause as much harm – I honestly don’t know or understand the mentality of such cruelty at all) – complete strangers, and this can be devastating.
I used to think as a child, everyone is saying these mean things about me so they must be true, and it really messed me up psychologically, but as an adult I am reasoning out these lies and realising that I’m not the only one. The world is full of cruel people and no one deserves to be treated that way. We all need so much grace and forgiveness. For children nowadays, the ‘everyone’ may really seem like every one in the world is against them because of the sheer multitude of people who can comment or hurt a person with their words online. We all know this needs to stop, but what about navigating our course and helping others do likewise?
If I can summarise what I’d like you to takeaway from this post it is to know this: you, yes you, are truly valuable, unique, loved, one of a kind, and so very important. Keep being kind and encouraging others to do so. Thank you for being part of this online community that is supportive and encouraging. Know your ‘triggers’, whether this is in the articles you read, watch or listen to on the news, or whether it is more personal things that you are exposed to if you have other online accounts where people are unkind. Find ways to manage your exposure, and grow strong in your mind to know that the unkind words have no place in your life and do not reflect your true identity. And as you grow stronger and wiser seek to be a voice and an advocate and a mentor for the younger generation who are exposed to so much ‘flippant’ and careless negativity and cruelty online. You really are special and you truly make a difference, so keep holding high the banner of Kindness, and you will be blessed in return. With love and peace to you all. xoxox